Urban and Regional Landscapes: New Imagery of National Identity in Chilean Children’s Literature (2010-2020)

Isabel Ibaceta, Universidad de O'Higgins

The study of discourses of national identity in Chilean children’s literature has been an emerging phenomenon since the last decade. The historical precedents of this phenomenon, its aesthetic trends, and connection with the Chilean identity historiographic discussions of the twentieth century have scarcely been examined. Between 1990 and 2010 (post-dictatorial period), children’s texts tended to articulate belonging senses mainly connected to first people’s cultural elements. This cultural imagery, stereotyped in many cases, emphasized ancient mythological geographic landmark scenery, which nonetheless wanted to distance the previous dictatorial (1973-1990) identity icons (Ibaceta 61). Main identity ideas in this period, established since the Spanish colonial period and modified and maintained beyond the creation of the state-nation in 1818, are formed by iconography highlighting military power, public order, territorial unity, and Catholic values (Correa 22-25). Considering the previous context, in this paper, I explore nation-forming narratives for children (picture books), published in Chile between 2010 and 2020. I will argue that discourses that challenge the dictatorial and post-dictatorial idea of a homogeneous and united motherland appear during this period. In contrast, everyday regional landscapes acquire centrality, while urban and contemporary sites, where popular culture and quotidian social practices are considered heritage components, displace bucolic and mythological native locations. In dialogue mainly with imagology, postcolonial, Latin American anti-colonial theory, and landscape studies, this paper seeks to answer questions such as: How the narrative and visual symbolic configuration of spaces/landscapes works to build new icons of nationhood? How do the texts of the last two decades dialogue with the national literary motif’s trends of the two previous decades and with historiographic discussions of the twentieth and the twentieth-first century? These answers will help understand the impact of Chilean children’s literature in the configuration of identity ideologies and the development of children’s literature of the twenty-first century.

No extended abstract or paper available

 Presented in Session 111. Young People and the Environment